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Tea and Spices [Paperback]

Nina Roy
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

23 Feb 2001
Desire defies protocol in this torrid tale set at the dusk of English dominion in India. Revolt is seething in the loins of the colonial settlement at Uttar Pradesh, and the heart of memsahib Devora Hawthorne, wife of the local British diplomatic officer, harbors a carnal appetite.Awakened by her lustful young husband to passions that she cannot ignore and he cannot satisfy, Devora retreats increasingly from the formalities of her station among the British colonials who sip their tea with milk and complacency in the shade of their verandas. Instead, she seeks out the heat of a darker skin and the pleasures of a more exotic sensuality, ultimately surpassing every measure of her sexual expectations at the beck of the magnetic and inscrutable Rohan, the trusted Indian manservant who heads her own household.While dark, sultry Rohan educates Devora in the intricate social codes that govern the mean-spirited colonial community and in the political realities that threaten the stability of the world her husband upholds and represents, he also introduces his eager mistress to a way of loving that exceeds the English imagination. Scorchingly, insatiably, servant and memsahib, mentor and proselyte, man and woman, they explore a territory that neither class nor color can control.

Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Carroll & Graf Publishers Inc (23 Feb 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786707186
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786707188
  • Product Dimensions: 20.7 x 14 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,348,607 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A NEW TAKE ON ANGLO-INDIAN RELATIONS... 21 April 2008
By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
I originally bought this book, because I am always interested in books on the topic of life in India during the British Raj. Unfortunately, it was not exactly what I expected.

The book is set in 1925, and Devora, a British woman in her late twenties, has left England to join her British husband, Gerald, who is a civil servant in colonial India. Gerald sees the British as superior in every way to the native population of India and is not at all interested in learning about India's culture or its people, other than satisfying his sexual urges with those who native women who work in his household as servants.

Devora, on the other hand, is very interested in Indian culture and its people. She loathes the British society that is in place, as she finds it dull and hypocritical. Unfortunately, Gerald is frequently away on business, and Devora is left to her own devices. She finds herself intrigued by India in all respects, including its erotica, and raises eyebrows among the colonial community, when she lunches several times, sans her husband, with the local Maharaja, a man with a notorious reputation. Of course, the inevitable occurs, during those long, languid lunches.

Even her husband's trusted head servant, Rohan, is of interest to her, as she finds herself exploring her own sensuality. A steamy affair ensues between Devora and Rohan, a native who, with his patrician bearing, seems to have more class than any of the British colonials. When their affair becomes common knowledge, Devora refuses to do what her husband demands in order to clear her reputation. Consequently, the marriage heads south, and Devora finds herself living a life that she never imagined.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where the desires broke the barriers 30 Jun 2002
Format:Paperback
The colonial British and the native Indians in the pre-independence era of India hated each other. In this backdrop, is it possible to think of any love relations between a British living in India and a native Indian ?
To find out an answer, we may take a look at Nina Roy's fiction "Tea and Spices". A young British woman Devora comes to the colonial India, where her husband, Gerald is posted. After coming to India, Devora soon finds out that the Britishers in India were living in a closed community, isolated from the Indians, whom they all hated. She doesn't find any interests with the bridge playing of the ladies, their club get togethers and the least, their gossips. She is in love with the beautiful land and is eager to learn about its arts, sculptures and the historical past. Her fellow countrymen and also her husband cautions her against the "uncivilised" folks of India, but that could hardly dampen her interests. She is highly sensuous in nature. Herself an artist, she is a lover of art.The descriptions of India's ancient erotic scrpt Kama Sutra and the erotic sculptures of Khajuraho, which her countrymen brands as something disgusting and works of uncivilsed people, appeals to her inner senses.
Her journey of search begins. Not that everything was smooth, not her encounters with outrageous perversions. She finds a new companion in her journey - Rohan, the loyal head-servant of the household, who was educated, could play pianos but became a servant by misfortune. Her journey continues. She loves the land more and more. The reader will find it thrilling to discover her erotic adventures in every stage, how the desires defied all protocols. The novel is thoroughly erotic, its every chapter is erotic, right from the word goes.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When desires cross all barriers 5 July 2002
Format:Paperback
British and the native Indians in the colonial era of India had hated each other. In this backdrop, is it possible to think of any love relations between a British living in India and a native Indian ?
To find out an answer, we may take a look at Nina Roy's fiction "Tea and Spices". A young British woman, Devora comes to the colonial India, where her husband, Gerald was posted. After coming to India, Devora soon finds out that the Britishers in India were living in a closed community, isolated from the Indians, whom they all hated. She doesn't find any interests with the bridge playing of the ladies, their club get togethers and the least, their gossips. She is in love with the beautiful land and is eager to learn about its arts, sculptures and the historical past. Her fellow countrymen and also her husband cautions her against the "uncivilised" folks of India, but that could hardly dampen her interests. She is highly sensuous in nature. Herself an artist, she is a lover of art.The descriptions of India's ancient erotic scrpt Kama Sutra and the erotic sculptures of Khajuraho, which her countrymen brands as something disgusting and works of uncivilsed people, appeals to her inner senses.
Her journey of search begins. Not that everything was smooth, not her encounters with outrageous perversions. She finds a new companion in her journey - Rohan, the loyal head-servant of the household, who was educated, could play pianos but became a servant by misfortune. Her journey continues. She loves the land more and more. The reader will find it thrilling to discover her erotic adventures in every stage. The novel is thoroughly erotic, its every chapter is erotic, right from the word goes.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  29 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Tea and Spices": Jewel in the Corona 17 April 2000
By Shivaji Sengupta, Ph.D - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is Nina Roy's third novel. Earlier she's published two with Black Lace. She is a brilliant writer. Witness her story in "Desires," the anthology I edited with Adrienne Benedicks. Nina Roy is sintellectual (ie., intellectual with a laconic sense of sin), who defies norms with passion, blows rings around hollow hypocrisy.
She is also multicultural - in the best sense of the word, because she brings people together from far corners of the world, joins them, and entwines them breathlessly. And in its midst, we forget the colors of our skin, our class distinctions, we forget ruler and the ruled.
Her first novel was about a sensual, intelligent beauty, member of the Tzarist royal family, maneuvering her way through the Bolshevik revolution. "Tea and Spices," is about Devora Hawthorne, an English wife in India during the British Raj, who, bored with her bureaucratic husband, desires her servant, the dusky and handsome Rohan, as her lover. Nina Roy gives us India with its heat and dust, its cities of bitter joy, mosques and temples, corpulent maharajas - and through all of these, sensual spine tingling, toe-curling sex.
In a strange way, "Tea and Spices," invites dangerous comparisons with that famous novel by E. M. Foster, "A Passage to India," and actually manages to get away without injury. Those of us who live in the west, harbor a secret yearning for the mystiques of India. Reading Foster, we were enchanted with the personality of Dr. Aziz. Reading Nina Roy's "Tea and Spices," we are reminded of our anticipations in that novel: would - could-anything happen between Aziz and Adela Quested? It doesn't happen there, but here? On a dark, silent night, when Devora cannot sleep, and Rohan lies awake in the verandah. She comes out to get a breath of air and sees him one with the dark. He is quiet, vibrating; she, trembling with an unknown awakening.
Is "Tea and Spices" Nina Roy's answer to "A Passage to India?" There we remember that Dr. Aziz and Fielding want to be friends but India's colonized and inferior position comes in the way. Here...? Will Devora and Rohan conquer what their more famous antecedents couldn't? How poignant was that scene between them, that brilliant conclusion of the novel! Their horses almost kissing but retrained by the riders, violently drawn back? How will "Tea and Spices" end?
Read it!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No choice at the beginning.... 28 May 2002
By John Kass - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Since I have been waiting and waiting for the next Natasha Rostova Black Lace book (I hate it when authors don't produce as quickly as I would like them to), I decided to read this book to tide me over. I wasn't sure what to expect since I am such an avid fan of Rostova's Black Lace series, but this book delivered as fantastically as her others. It is a historical novel of the British in India, telling the story of a British woman who experiences a number of....well, experiences!
One of the main reasons i like Rostova's novels is that she creates fully 3-dimensional characters, both male and female. The men are not reduced to dogs, the women not to vapid airheads. Admittedly, I didn't find the male character Gerald (Devora's husband) as interesting as the male characters in the Black Lace books, but he holds his own. The excellent writing and the story are vintage Rostova. Now if she would only hurry up and write another.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great erotica 12 Feb 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I guess I need to reconsider my view of erotica, which I thought was always just a fancy name for porn -- and it is, in some cases, but this book isn't one of them. Make no mistake, the book Tea and Spices is definitely explicit, but it's not like the stuff you'd read in most porn publications. It's hot and raw, but with actual characters and emotions -- not barbie doll replicas or men with only gargantuan schlongs.
I've read some of the Black Lace books and have not been very impressed -- although after reading this book I am going to read some of Natasha Rostova's other books and see if she carries the same mix of sexuality and a great story through in her other novels. The publishing world could use more of this EROTICA and less porn. Good job to the authors!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scintillating Book 12 July 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I read this book when it was first published, and I remember the vividly even today. I especially liked the relationship between the British woman and Rohan, a theme that has been explored previously by many authors and filmmakers, but not with *this* particular twist (the erotic love scenes).
My favorite book by Ms. Roy is The Captivation, a book that is now out of print. I have a feeling that as time goes on, more and more books by Ms. Roy will be equally valued.
Bravo, Ms. Roy! I can't wait to read (and buy) your next book!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sensual, simple, and fun... 20 July 2002
By M. Livshutz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book so that my wife and I could add some fun in our personal life. We usually enjoy reading "improper" stories off the Web when we find the ones written by good authors. So I figured this book should give us more of the same.
After we got it, we read it in 2 days. We had a lot of fun reading this one. We're still re-reading it once in a while, and it never fails to excite us again... There's no violence, rape, or any unordinary perversions. Just a good story with good adult people having fun. :) All mixed in a decent and sensuous historical setting.
We love the characters, especially Deborah. Her husband is sketched out a little too harshly, in my male opinion. Oh well, what else is new. I don't take it personally. I can only wish someone would make it into a movie.
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